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Zoeller Defends Stadler Debuts

Fuzzy Zoeller probably thought it would be a little easier than this ' that by now hed have multiple victories under his belt. But, alas, he has just one win to his credit, though it happens to be a major championship.
Zoeller will try and hold onto his title as reigning Senior PGA champion this week at the Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, Penn.
In his rookie season on the 50-and-over circuit, the 1979 Masters and 1984 U.S. Open champion added another major victory to his resume. He finished as the only competitor under par ' at 2-under 278 ' at Firestone Country Club.
It was not only his first triumph on his new playing ground, it was his first victory anywhere since the 1986 Anheuser-Busch Classic.
Another would like to follow in Zoellers footsteps ' making a major championship his first tour title. Craig Stadler, who turned 50 Monday, will be making his Champions Tour debut this week. The sometimes surly, always expressive Walrus has won 12 times on the PGA Tour, but not since 1996.
The Senior PGA Championship is the oldest of the tours events. It was first played in1937 and won by Jock Hutchinson.
Major winners on the PGA Tour have dominated this event since its inception. Gene Sarazen won it twice; Sam Snead six times; Arnold Palmer twice; Gary Player three times; Lee Trevino twice; Jack Nicklaus once, and Tom Watson two years ago.
The winners list also includes the likes of Paul Runyon (twice), Julius Boros (twice), Tommy Bolt, Roberto De Vicenzo, Don January (twice), Peter Thomson, Raymond Floyd, and Hale Irwin on three consecutive occasions (1996-98).
In fact, over the last 24 years, only six times has this event been won by a player who never won a major on the PGA Tour.
PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was the events home from 1982 to 2000. It was contested at Ridgewood CC in Paramus, N.J. in 2001 and in Akron, Ohio a year ago.
This year, Aronimink takes over host duties. Donald Ross completed the course in 1928. The current 7,106-yard, par-70 venue hosted the 1962 PGA Championship, won by Gary Player, the 1977 U.S. Amateur Championship and the 1997 U.S. Junior Championship.
Related Links
  • Champions Tour Statistical Preview
  • Full coverage of the Senior PGA Championship